By Roz Weis,
Returning home to Iowa after living on the West Coast led to romance for two Driftless-area natives.
Decorah native Lynsey Christensen and West Union native Daniel Moritz met a couple of years ago after both returned to their home state of Iowa. Both were looking for a smaller place, a slower pace and a simpler lifestyle. “Resetting and reassessing what was next in our lives,” Lynsey said.
Lynsey had been living in Portland, Ore., and Daniel in Sacramento, Calif.
Their live-streamed wedding was a riverside ceremony along the Shell Rock River at the bride’s parents’ home in Greene on Nov. 11, 2022.
A mutual love of the outdoors and passion for traveling brought these two together. They met while both building out their own mobile homes (Dan, a van, and Lynsey, a short school bus). They both had, and continue to have, a serious case of wanderlust.
“We met and began to work on these mobile home projects and go out exploring in the Driftless area,” Lynsey continued, “we also took a few epic road trips together while still having our home base in Iowa.
“We were building a life together that aligned with what we both saw for ourselves and our future.” Lynsey said.
“Our first date, at the end of 2020, was an outdoor, socially-distanced bonfire on Dan’s family’s property in the country,” Lynsey reminisced. “There was a snowstorm that night, and we hadn’t met in person before. So, it was definitely a ‘brave’ choice.” They had met online prior to their in-person exchange while chatting on Bumble, a dating app.
That first date was an indication of how the rest of their adventures in dating would go — from subzero temperatures while snowshoeing to a frozen waterfall on Valentine’s Day, backpacking along the Grand Enchantment Trail in Arizona, a weekend excursion to Michigan to purchase a vintage power wagon ambulance to build out as an off-road vehicle, a road trip to Utah to support Dan along his bicycling route across part of the state and to visit the five Utah National Parks, to many more shared travels, projects and life-experiences!
Nearly two years later, while on a road trip to Montana’s Glacier National Park on Aug. 16, 2022, Lynsey popped the question. She proposed to Dan on a mountaintop and his answer was a resounding “Yes!”
They opted for a short engagement, planning their wedding just three months later on Nov. 11.
“We wanted a small and intimate outdoor gathering with our immediate family members and a select few best friends,” Dan and Lynsey said.
Boho chic ceremony
Both lovers of nature and having planted a pollinator-friendly wildflower field together, the couple chose a wildflower theme for their wedding. The colorful combination of natural texture and whimsy was visible in the invitations, welcome-signage, Dan’s tie, Lynsey’s cape, the bouquets and decorations, the homemade cake (featuring edible flowers), and the guests’ gift favors (ceramic hearts with floral texture and custom wildflower seed packets).
The dedication of their family and friends was evident at the ceremony.
Ceramic heart-shaped charms to share as gifts were created by Lynsey’s mother, Dawn (Prairie Patterns by Dawn D-C, her ceramic business). Lynsey’s father, Keith, made delicious wedding snacks. Her parents generously opened their home and hosted the event at their riverside property in Greene. Lynsey’s sister, Chelsey, was maid of honor and was wonderful at keeping the day on track (and keeping Lynsey calm).
Dan’s mom (Christine) and sisters (Robyn and Heidi) made everyone a special wedding day breakfast. Dan’s dad, Larry, cared for Andie (their dog and ring-bearer) during the ceremony. Dan’s niece, Isabell, styled Lynsey’s hair and makeup, and set up a “super fun” s’mores dessert table.
Laura, Lynsey’s bestie, created the wedding cake and helped assemble the dried wildflower bouquets and table decorations. She also helped the couple select their wedding day attire and added the wildflower cape to Lynsey’s wedding dress. Lynsey’s other best friends, Kirby and Siri (and her husband, Matt), helped with the ceremony music and with set-up/clean-up.
Dan’s bestie, Amanda, helped run the livestream for other friends/family to tune-in online to watch the wedding. And last but not least, Dan’s best friend, Steph, was the wonderful officiant of their wedding.
The couple agreed that the community of Greene was incredible, as well. They hired talented local photographer Mary Steere to help capture the day. The Aredale Fire Department was hired to bring in and set up the tent, tables and lights – all rental costs were donated to local groups. Their post-wedding brunch was catered by local coffee shop Black Sheep Coffee Baa, featuring their mobile coffee truck that created made-to-order warm beverages for the guests.
“It truly was a team effort,” Lynsey continued, “And, we are endlessly grateful. Our hearts are so full of love, they might just burst!”
The ceremony began with Lynsey, escorted by both her mom and dad, walking along the grass towards the river where Dan was waiting. A sweet cover of the song “All I Want Is You” was played as they walked down the path. Their first celebration song as a married couple was “Ends of the Earth.”
Dan and Lynsey skipped traditional wedding food in favor of a midwestern classic, Casey’s Pizza. They took everyone’s favorite weekend dinner and served it up with the trappings of a festive wedding. Guests gathered under a large outdoor tent warmed with portable heaters and a nearby campfire. They feasted on pizza served along with salad, an array of snacks, a build-your-own s’mores table, and the delicious one-of-a-kind wildflower themed wedding cake.
The couple agreed that their special day was a combination of “high winds, cold weather, but warm and happy hearts.”
The newlyweds are now at home at their new acreage on a scenic bluff overlooking the Mississippi River across from Lansing in De Soto, Wis.
Lynsey continues to work from home as the social media marketing manager for Mad Hippie Skin Products (along with various other freelance gigs). Dan recently accepted the rural carrier associate position with the United States Postal Service in De Soto.
“We plan to turn our property into a self-sufficient homestead,” Dan and Lynsey said, “with a big garden, orchard, renewable/sustainable energy, hiking trails and more over the next few years.”
For now, they are basking in the glow of marrying the person of their dreams and starting their new life together.
More photos in this the Driftless Journal.